In 1971 he was appointed to the V & A Metalwork department, promoted in 1977 to the Ceramics department, and headhunted by Christie’s in 1984 to become a director and Head of Silver and
Objects of Vertu, moving in 1990 to Asprey’s as director of Antiques.
In 1979 he caused a sensation with an article for The Connoisseur magazine, an analysis of numerous designs in the V & A by the 19th-century Aachen goldsmith, Reinhold Vasters, unmasking him as an inventive faker of Renaissance jewellery and goldsmiths’ work.
As a result of his work, many jewels, long accepted by scholars as Renaissance, were now recognised as being after Vasters’s designs. The market has never quite recovered.
From 1997 he was an independent dealer and researcher. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, liveryman of the Goldsmiths Company, and at various times chairman of the British Antique Dealers Association and of the Silver Society.
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